Tagged with Scientific literature

Menstrual music

Menstrual music

Ladies, which musical composer would you like to sleep with? Well, according to some science that just happened, your preference might be influenced by where you are in your monthly cycle. Benjamin Charlton at the University of Sussex wanted to know if Darwin was right, that music, having no survival benefit, was a target of … Continue reading

Mouse eggs are busy Survivin

Mouse eggs are busy Survivin

The process of getting eggs ready for fertilization in mammals is extremely complicated. With so many moving parts, it’s amazing that it actually goes right so much of the time. But as biologists, we are of course more interested in when things go wrong. Researchers studying reproduction at the Chinese Academy of Sciences had an inkling … Continue reading

Sex in (floral) advertising

Sex in (floral) advertising

Having a wingman can be helpful, but for many plants it’s absolutely crucial. Flowering plants don’t have smoky bars, speed dating or eHarmony. They have to rely entirely on their tiny wing—well, I guess “men” isn’t really appropriate. But unlike your witty friend who backs you up in the bar, pollinators don’t help plants with their … Continue reading

Mosquito sperm need to smell to swim

Mosquito sperm need to smell to swim

You’ve probably had someone tell you, at some point in your life, that the sense of smell is the sense most tightly linked to memory. Now, scientists have found that at least for mosquitoes, the sense of smell is also linked to the ability of their sperm to swim. The research was published in February in … Continue reading

An oral pheromone makes male wasps unattractive to females

An oral pheromone makes male wasps unattractive to females

Communication is essential to any successful relationship, and insect relationships are no different. In insect (as in human) relationships, much of this communication is non-verbal.  Chemical cues in the form of pheromones help females of many insect species decide when to mate, who to make with and, when the deed is done, other chemicals let them … Continue reading

Don’t stress out your testicles!

Don’t stress out your testicles!

You probably don’t need science to tell you that when you’re stressed out you’re not likely to be in the mood. But can stress cause physical damage to your reproductive cells? A study published this month in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that it just might. Rats aren’t all that different from people. They … Continue reading

Manipulating the mouse penis bone, with science

Manipulating the mouse penis bone, with science

The girth of a mouse penis bone depends on the stiffness of the competition. That’s what Leigh Simmons and Renée Firman at the University of Western Australia found after several generations of experimental evolution in mice. Over the course of the experiment, male mice developed thicker penis bones (or bacula, if you want to be scientific about … Continue reading

STD puts crickets in the mood

STD puts crickets in the mood

Imagine an STD that made you extra eager for sex. Oh, and it makes you sterile. This STD exists—in insects. Researchers working in a lab that studies field crickets came into work one day only to find, much to their dismay I imagine, that their colony had been infected with a virus. But, as they … Continue reading

OMG. Sugar is poison!?

OMG. Sugar is poison!?

Toxic. It’s a bad word, right? If something is toxic, or poison, it will kill you. Period. Arsenic? Poison. Water? Not poison. See? Easy! How about this one: sugar. Well, if we’re to believe everything we read in the media, sugar is one of the worst poisons there is. And you’re killing yourself with it … Continue reading

A story of sex and fly poop

A story of sex and fly poop

Scientists know a lot about fly sex. Maybe too much. We know how male fruit flies woo their mates. We’ve picked apart the seminal fluid to study all of the molecules in it. We know what happens to the female after sex–and how it can even make her sick. And we know what happens to … Continue reading

Absence makes the genitalia grow weirder

Absence makes the genitalia grow weirder

Evolution loves penises. How else do you explain all the crazy penis shapes out there? Por ejemplo (slightly nsfw): the corkscrew duck penis, the spiny cat and chimp members, the sci-fi-esque spiked penis of a seed beetle, the 4-headed penis of the echidna, and, well, all of these. Why so many ways to make a sperm … Continue reading

What your testicles taste

What your testicles taste

Most people probably think of tastebuds as existing only on their tongues, but did you know there are taste buds in testes? It’s true. Sort of. They aren’t exactly like the taste buds in your mouth. Male germ cells–the cells that are destined to become sperm–have molecules on them that can detect bitter tastes. These … Continue reading

The discriminating vagina

The discriminating vagina

All kinds of things go into a woman’s vagina. Some are friendly (like sperm and vaginal microbes), and some are very bad (STDs). The immune system in the vagina has to be able to tell the difference and react appropriately. As you can imagine, the system isn’t perfect and sometimes things go terribly wrong. An … Continue reading

Being pregnant must be super scary

Being pregnant must be super scary

Kate Middleton might love being pregnant, but for the average woman it can be confusing and scary. Every day we learn about some new thing that, if you do it when you’re pregnant, can totally screw up your kid. By this point, pretty much everyone knows that you shouldn’t smoke or drink during pregnancy. Even … Continue reading

Giving STDs to goats. For science!

Giving STDs to goats. For science!

Goats could potentially transmit a dangerous parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, in their semen, according to research by Flaviana Wanderley and colleagues in Brazil. Well…who cares? Why should scientists devote research dollars and time to purposely giving goats STDs, just to see if they can? Like with so many other apparently bizarre research projects, the answer is: … Continue reading

Getting Taz’s sperm…with electricity

Getting Taz’s sperm…with electricity

Remember Taz? That lovable, mischief-making cartoon tasmanian devil who traveled around in a mini-tornado of dust? What you probably don’t remember from those cartoons is Taz biting the faces of other devils, aiding the spread of a contagious form of cancer. Tasmanian devils are rapidly face-cancering themselves to extinction. If we don’t do something soon, … Continue reading

The secret sex of cheese

The secret sex of cheese

Are you grossed out by blue cheese? (I’m not, but I know many who are). Does that blue-green marbling of delicious fungus kind of make you gag? Well, this little factoid probably won’t help: there may be sex going on in that cheese. Until pretty recently, a big chunk of fungal species were thought to … Continue reading

Sperm are Cool #3: Giant sperm and the Zenker organ

Sperm are Cool #3: Giant sperm and the Zenker organ

Today, I’m going to write about everyone’s favorite kind of sperm: giant. Who makes giant sperm? It’s not who you might think. The giants of the animal kingdom–whales, elephants–make sperm that are very similar to that of men and mice. Tiny. It’s the little guys who make the biggest sperm. In fact, as I’ve pointed … Continue reading

Fertile eggs created from stem cells

Fertile eggs created from stem cells

You may read about this paper already, about scientists turning stem cells into fertile eggs (for example, this article at NPR). And of course, it deserves the hype. This is certainly a big breakthrough in stem cell research–especially induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research. iPS cells are similar to embryonic stem cells, except that they … Continue reading

Sperm are Cool #1: Naked Mole Rats

Sperm are Cool #1: Naked Mole Rats

Sperm are pretty cool. Some are tiny, some are huge. Some have hooks, some crawl, and some can’t actually fertilize an egg. But all of them are awesome products of evolution. That’s why I want to start a collection of posts dedicated to quirky sperm. For the first post, a relatively recent paper (about a year … Continue reading

Sperm tracked in 3D

Sperm tracked in 3D

Despite referring to sperm as “sperms”, this paper showing 3D tracking of human sperm swimming paths is pretty cool. Actually, I take that back. Calling them sperms definitely adds to the awesomeness. I won’t pretend to fully understand the physics behind their method, but it’s obvious that this imaging method will be important for many … Continue reading

Male contraception: a new advance

Male contraception: a new advance

Good news, guys: one day soon you may not have to worry about whether your girlfriend remembered to take her pill. The bad news? You might actually have to be the one who remembers to take it. A group of researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and … Continue reading